Oculus Connect

Robo Recall

The Sequel To Bullet Train Is An Action-Packed, Enthralling Experience
by Javy Gwaltney on Oct 06, 2016 at 08:31 AM
Publisher: Epic Games
Developer: Epic Games
Release:
Rating: Rating Pending
Platform: Rift

Last year, Epic revealed a VR demo called Bullet Train that immediately grabbed the attention of those interested in the possibilities of virtual reality thanks to its beautiful visuals and its ability to let you teleport around the environment, giving players more mobility than usual in a VR shooter. Epic revealed that the demo will be getting a full-fledged sequel called Robo Recall that makes use of the Oculus touch controllers. The game will be made free for Oculus Rift owners when it's released.

I got some hands-on time with the game at Oculus Connect, playing through a single level, and as someone who's generally unimpressed by all things VR, I came away pretty impressed. Robo Recall sticks you in the suit of a field agent capable of digitizing weapons to their holsters, which gives you a convenient reason to never have to reload, and then tells you that your job is to take out robots with corrupted A.I.s that have become violent. The demo I played took me down a neighborhood in a futuristic city. Using the touch controller's sticks, I was able to teleport mostly anywhere in sight, and defeat foes in a variety of ways.

There's a satisfying sense of complexity to the action. You can shoot your foes, sure, but why settle for that? If you want to be fancy about things, you can reach out, grab an enemy by the neck, rip off its head, and take out another robot by rolling the head into them like a bowling ball. You can deflect bullets back at foes by batting them away. Colorful comic book text splashes across a small portion of the screen near your enemies that keeps tab on how you've killed them, with different methods (like dismemberment or headshots) resulting in you scoring different points. Enemy deaths are particularly satisfying, with all of them having damage zones that make it feel as though your weapons are actually powerful.

At the end of my demo, I was able to take control of a giant mech equipped with a laser canon in its right hand, and capable of picking up foes and beating them about with its left. I wasn't able to move the mech's feet but that didn't stop me from wailing about like a giant mechanized version of King Kong with its arms, tearing up any sentry dumb enough to get close, often throwing them into each other.

All in all, Robo Recall is the most fun I've hard with virtual reality yet. It doesn't revolutionize either VR games or shooters since it does still feel a little bit like you're playing a really polished version of Time Crisis at an arcade, but its stylishness and zaniness make it one of the top VR games to keep an eye on when it's released early next year.